04 April 2014

'Injury mystery' forces Azkals coach Dooley to drop OJ Porteria from international friendlies

By Karlo Sacamos

THREE key players were omitted from the Philippine men’s football team roster for the friendlies against Nepal and Qatari club Al-Ahli next week in Doha.
Part of the lineup in the last friendly against Azerbaijan, Patrick Deyto, Misagh Bahadoran, and OJ Porteria were noticeably missing from the Qatar training camp player list released earlier this week.
While Bahadoran was excused due to an MCL injury and Deyto for family matters, Azkals coach Thomas Dooley crossed off Porteria under baffling circumstances.
The German-American mentor said the Kaya FC star striker missed a handful of national team trainings due to an “injury” but he would then be surprised just a few days later to see Porteria suit up for his club.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with him,” Dooley told Spin.ph on Friday. “He’s injured then he plays for the club then he gets injured again. Every time when he’s with us, he can’t train with us.”
“If somebody wants to play for the national team then he should be there to train,” the former US World Cup skipper added.
Dooley said he engaged Kaya coach David Perkovic in a “good, long conversation” that revolved around the importance of representing the national team.
“I told that him that the priority is the national team right now, not the club team, because the club teams, they can gain a lot if the national team is successful. But they don’t gain anything if the national team is not successful.”
“I don’t want to make a point. But if the player’s injured, then he should rest,” Dooley said. “I only questioned one thing — if he’s fit or he wants (to play).
The subtractions have opened the door for some new call-ups in Global FC’s Charlie Pettys and Curt Dizon, whom Dooley welcomed.
“I thought (Charlie) needs to have some experience with the team. And Curt played some great games and trained well. So same thing, he’s another one that I would like to see in the game.”
“So always, new players will come in,”  
Only three foreign-based players were called up for the non-Fifa matches in Rob Gier, Juani Guirado, and Steuble.


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